My Inspiration!

Today, this year’s search for The Outstanding Student of the Philippines (TOSP) will conclude with an awarding ceremony in Malacañang. Out of the hundred students who were nominated all over the Philippines, 31 finalists have been chosen. They have gone through a rigorous selection process by the screening committee and the board of judges.

I had the chance to meet some of the judges, who spent one whole day to select the final ten from the 31. One of the judges is Cito Lorenzo, a good friend whom I haven’t seen for a while. When I was managing Cosmos prior to our sale to Coke, Cito was running Pepsi. I found out that two of his kids want to be priests. Cito is a good and honest man. It is no surprise that his children have taken on his virtues.

While we all have made mistakes in life, the most important part is that we come to a realization and we learn from those mistakes, making us better persons. The Go Negosyo advocacy has been teaching me a lot. When you meet different types of people, you learn to be happy for what God has blessed you with. There are many struggling entrepreneurs who are just trying to make ends meet.

Cito, who is now involved with Tony Meloto’s Gawad Kalinga, wants to give back to the country since they have been blessed with a good family and wealth.

Many of the finalists in the TOSP search did not walk an easy road. Many had a bumpy ride and some even thought that they would not make it. But, that is life’s journey. Our characters are tested time and time again. In the end, it is the attitude and mindset that spells the difference if we are to succeed or fail. It all boils down to the choices we make in life.

This is why I have supported advocacies of helping the youth of our country. The formative years are important. Everything starts when you are born and everything develops based on how you are brought up and how your parents and teachers mentor you. All of these determine what and who you become.

One of the TOSP finalists, Muhammad Ben-Usman, shared a glimpse of the road he walked in an essay that he submitted. Like other Moro children in Mindanao, he heard gunshots and bombings almost every other day. He was witness to the drastic effects of the feuds and the war in his environment. His commitment to his country, to success and to rise above the challenges is enough proof for people to see that the future of the Philippines is indeed bright.

“The search for excellence was more of a need rather than a want. Though my parents were very simple people with simple dreams, I was the one who kept on saying that ‘it’s not enough – we deserve something better.’” This was a line from another finalist’s essay. His name is Rodolfo Semira. This is the mindset that we want to push in our advocacies. We want the youth to push and strive for the best, despite poverty or other challenges in life.

Sometimes, we may say that life is not fair. Why do others have it easy? Why do others have to struggle more? The important thing is the outcome and how we have lived our lives. We always love to share the story of Jennilyn Antonio. She won Citi’s Microentrepreneur of the Year award many years back. She has been mentored by different organizations and by our very own Go Negosyo community. Now, Jennilyn’s business continues to grow, as she already serves a mentor to others. In fact, she has just inaugurated her new factory in Santa Rosa last Saturday.

From the attendance last week in the Go Negosyo Youth Summit, I was so inspired to see the more than 30 thousand students and youth groups from all over the country. This is what gives me the energy to push and further promote the spirit of hope.

I am glad that Pnoy has brought the renewal of hope. This is the strongest element that drives the young and the micro entrepreneurs to beat poverty and to push for success. Inspiration is what drives us to strive harder. Our advocacies, Go Negosyo and TOSP, are there to bring about greater inspiration to all.

I would like to congratulate the 31 finalists. Since this column comes out before the awarding ceremony at 1pm today, I am not allowed to mention the ten winners. To the parents, I would also like to congratulate you for bringing up great children. You are their mentors and inspiration. To the teachers and professors, I would like to congratulate you as well. Continue to mentor and inspire your students. God has given you this mission in life. There a lot out there who are not as fortunate, but we need to keep trying to help them.

Congratulations also to all those who helped in this year’s search. Congratulations to my sister Marie for leading this search. Thank you to this year’s judges – Cito Lorenzo, Emily Abrera, June Cheryl Cabal, Federico Macaranas, Renato Garcia, and Rosalind Wee. Thank you to those who were members of the screening committee, especially to our Go Negosyo entrep mentors like Dean Pax Lapid, Mylene Abiva, Reuel Virtucio, Tess Dimaculangan and Mark Ruiz. Of course, congratulations to my father – Mr. Impossible Dream – for starting the TOSP dream decades ago.

Once more, congratulations to the 2010 TOSP Finalists. As parents, mentors and Filipinos, we are indeed very proud of all of you.

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Go Negosyo would also like to invite everyone to Josiah Go’s “Day 8 business Academy, Inc.”. Josiah is a bestselling marketing author, a successful entrepreneur and a Go Negosyo Angelpreneur. “Day 8” presents training courses for small and medium entrepreneurs. This is a good opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn from the best. Interested participants may check the details and contact Josiah through their website (